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'Pussy Riot' to Be Brand Name

APPussy Riot supporters atop Zurich’s Grossmuenster cathedral on Monday.

“Pussy Riot” is being trademarked to prevent outsiders from profiting from or tarnishing the band’s image, a representative lawyer said Tuesday. 

That same day, hacker group Anonymous hijacked the website of the court that imprisoned three of the band’s members.

The copyright would give the band more authority over how its name and artistic material is used, Mark Feigin, a lawyer who represented Pussy Riot rocker Nadezhda Tolokonnikova at her recent trial, told The Moscow Times.

The band would not demand money from anyone who simply posts its material somewhere, but it would “consider what to do” if someone profits off it, Feigin said.

“Unfortunately, alongside people who share the girls’ views, sympathize with them and join them in their fight emerged those who use their name in questionable projects to gain publicity, obtain commercial benefit or harm the image of the band’s members,” Feigin said in separate comments to Interfax.

The Pussy Riot trademark could be worth tens of millions of dollars worldwide, record producer Kostantin Cherepkov told Newsmusic.ru on Thursday. The co-founder of Sever Production offered his services to the band.

Sergei Gorbylyov, a lawyer at Yukov, Khrenov & Partners, said a trademark would “facilitate” legal defense of the name, but to get royalties the band would need to register with the Russian Authors Society.

A lawyer for a plaintiff in a lawsuit against the band for “moral damages,” supposedly inflicted by Pussy Riot’s February performance at Moscow’s Christ the Savior Cathedral, claimed that the Russian Authors Society was collecting money from replays of the group’s songs on television and on the Internet, Feigin tweeted.

The society does collect money for anonymous works and “freezes” those funds for three years, during which time the author must register to get the cash, spokeswoman Marina Muradova told The Moscow Times.

But, she added, no royalties have been collected for any of Pussy Riot’s works.

She said the society collected royalties from television and radio channels, clubs and other “information users” based on their reports about playbacks or live performances of music or dramatic works, but no reports about playing or performing Pussy Riot songs had ever been filed.

Feigin wondered on Twitter whether another agency, the Russian Union of Rights Holders, could be collecting money from Pussy Riot’s songs.

The union’s press office told The Moscow Times that it collects money for the reproduction of copyrighted audio and visual works, then gives those royalties to the copyright holders “based, among other things, on reports submitted to the Russian Authors Society and the Russian Organization for Intellectual Property.”

It said it had not received any reports regarding Pussy Riot.

Meanwhile, the U.S. branch of the international hacker group Anonymous claimed responsibility for a Tuesday morning cyberattack on the Khamovnichesky District Court’s website, the BBC’s Russian service reported.

The group wrote on the site in stilted Russian: “We are the American [group] Anonymous. We neither forget, nor forgive. Free Pussy Riot. Tyrants are not judges.” A Pussy Riot song would play in the background.

The hackers also posted a clip of the homosexual-scene-laden video to the song “Mrazish,” or “You Hate,” by Bulgarian singer Azis. Within several hours, the court’s IT specialists had restored the website. 

The Russian Supreme Court called for an investigation into the incident, Interfax reported. Repeated calls to the court’s press office went unanswered.

On Friday, the Khamovnichesky District Court sentenced three members of Pussy Riot to two years in prison for hooliganism driven by religious hatred. Since the women’s arrest in early March, many European and U.S. musicians and politicians have called for their release.

Related articles:

See also:

Court to Decide on Banning Pussy Riot Video

Medvedev Calls for Pussy Riot Release

Pussy Riot Members 'Risk Lives' in Soviet-Style Prisons

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